Knowledge is grown from experience and this is at the forefront of our thinking in Science. We aim to develop children’s awe and wonder of our natural world and guide them towards self-discovery within science.
Science is not just about learning facts, but more about being led towards discoveries. Children are then faced with decisions on what to do with that new knowledge … In this modern world, where we are faced with many global issues, Science has the power to influence a generation’s behaviours and attitudes. It is our ultimate aim to gain perspective in the importance of protecting the very fine balance of science and nature and, in turn, it teaches us to respect the order of our natural world.
With the rich resources that we have at St. John’s, we incorporate outdoor learning opportunities when possible. Jolly John’s farm is used to gain insight into real life science such as living things and their habitats, the water cycle, food chains, plants and materials. Science is meaningful and real.
We aim for children to leave St. John’s Secondary ready with a secure set of scientific skills, knowledge and curiosity.
We follow the Kent Scheme of Work in Science to ensure we deliver a rich, meaningful, consistent, balanced and age appropriate curriculum. This scheme of work will support the provision of excellent learning opportunities for science by providing the following:
1. Long term planning
The scheme contains 28 units of study. Each of these units of study has been assigned to a particular Year group in line with the guidance from the National Curriculum (2014). Suggestions have been made as to possible best times of year to study some of the units, as well as when different aspects of learning within a unit will need to be taught at different times across a year.
2. Short term/lesson planning
The scheme of work is invaluable in supporting primary teachers with their lesson planning. Each of the units has clear and thorough advice on the following aspects of quality provision for science:
A. Sequence of knowledge and concepts.
In accordance with the guidance in the new National Curriculum, this scheme has clearly indicated a progression in the key scientific knowledge and concepts, from Year 1 to Year 6. Each of the 28 units of study clearly indicates the aspects of knowledge to be developed. Where appropriate, the unit will indicate the ‘learning journey’; i.e. where the knowledge and concepts of that particular unit fit within the learning for that particular aspect of science as the child progresses through the primary phase.
B. A range of activities that will enable the children to develop both their scientific understanding and their mastery of the nature, processes and method of science.
i. ‘Working Scientifically’ through a constructivist approach to learning
Throughout each and every unit of study the emphasis is on the children learning by doing. In accordance with the constructivist theory of learning, the units encourage the teachers to provide activities that enable the children to test their previously held ideas. In doing so, they will also be encouraged to develop a bank of skills and an understanding of the processes required to be able to do good science. In every unit of work the most suitable aspects of the statutory requirements for Working Scientifically have been selected. Each of these requirements are thoroughly covered throughout both of the Key Stages.
ii. Scientific vocabulary
Each unit of study contains a section outlining the most appropriate scientific vocabulary to be used when studying that particular area of science. This will help children to become familiar with, and use, technical terminology accurately and precisely.
The scheme contains a list of resources that would be required for each of the units.
Within every unit of work there are many suggestions as to strategies that teachers can use to ensure that children are interested and engaged in the content.
v. Teacher subject knowledge
Every unit of work has a section designed to provide teachers with a good understanding of the knowledge and concepts that will be covered within that unit.
Every unit of work lists some of the scientists who are working, or have worked, in that particular area of science.
vii. Preparation for the learning
For every unit of work there is a section that outlines when and how teachers can prepare for the activities that they would like to do with the children.
There are suggestions throughout every unit as to how the children could record their learning. Consideration has been given to not just how they will record, but also the reason for recording in each of the different instances.
ix A range of learning strategies designed to engage the children
As well as the full range of practical scientific enquiries outlined, there are plenty of other strategies provided to engage the children in their science learning; drama, deep thinking time, problem-solving in various contexts, videos from web pages, etc
3. Learning Questions
To develop metacognitive learning, all Science lessons begin with a Learning Question. Starting with a question enhances engagement and develops a sense of wonder. Having collected enough knowledge throughout the lesson, children are then expected to answer the Learning Question in a self-evaluation. We aim to develop children’s curiosity and encourage it to continue and grow well beyond the lesson.
For each of the units an assessment record sheet has been created. Each of these sheets will allow teachers to record children’s achievements during their studies for both the knowledge aspects within a particular unit, and some of the requirements from Working Scientifically. These record sheets, and the intended learning objectives included in the units of study will enable the teachers to identify what the children need to know or be able to do next, as well as support them at different times in the year to make summative judgements as to the children’s attainment. In addition, teachers run a set of unit assessments to ensure judgements are accurate and that Children’s knowledge is accurate. This data is added onto a central base where the subject lead can monitor and support where needed.
Science has huge importance and responsibility in developing children’s Harmony understanding and appreciation of how we can learn about and then look after our natural world. As a result, the Harmony and Science curriculums work closely together. All Science topics incorporate one of the 6 Harmony themes: Oneness, Adaptation, Diversity, Interdependence, Cycle and Health. We look for appropriate opportunities to develop the children’s understanding of Harmony through Science, including the Outdoor Learning opportunities and aim to make learning meaningful.
Through the teaching of Science, children’s understanding, awe, wonder and questioning is developed and challenged in how we can care for our ever changing world.
In line with our Harmony Curriculum, we want to develop children’s understanding of the responsibility we all have to keep our natural and scientific world working in Harmony with each other, without upsetting the balance. Teaching children the value of science, in such a way, prepares them for their future on our planet.
We develop much learning through practical experiences, which are then reinforced using secondary resources and teaching, ensuring our children are not just Secondary ready, but world ready! We want children to recognise the importance and value of learning Science which, in turn, helps shapes their values as young people growing into an every changing world.
Children enjoy knowing, continue to question, they explore and make links. This makes them inquisitive, metacognitive learners.
At St John’s, in Science, we find and discover and this enlightens our philosophy, religion and spirituality. We accept that science tells us how things work but it is not always equipped to tell us why. And that is wonderful!